Although current holders Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are the three favourites to lift the trophy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff come May, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus should definitely not be written off as they aim to go a step further than in 2015, when they were defeated by Barcelona in the final in Berlin.
Here are the five reasons on why the Juventus can win the Champions League…
1) AN AWESOME DEFENCE
When examining Juve’s results so far this season, what stands out is the numerous zeros on the opposition’s side of the scoreboard. The Bianconeri backline have only conceded 17 goals in Serie A and just twice in six Champions League fixtures; they have claimed 16 clean sheets in 34 games in all competitions, and have let in more than one goal on only four occasions.
Allegri’s side have the capability to force their opponents to play into tight areas with constant pressure and an impressive work-rate, which leads the other team to either produce an unsuccessful pass or to play the ball backwards. The Italian giants are well known to be effective when it comes to seeing matches out and even the best attackers in Europe find it hard to break down the stubborn defence.
2) DEPTH IN ATTACK
Along with an impenetrable backline, Juventus also boast a number of brilliant attacking players at the other end of the pitch, with a number of choices available for Allegri to utilise depending on how he sets his team up. A key strength of the side is certainly the goals, which can be produced in the blink of an eye.
Since leaving Real Madrid, Gonzalo Higuain has gone on to establish himself as one of the best forwards in Europe within the past few years, the Argentine bagging 19 goals in 25 league appearances this campaign. Also, the likes of Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, who played a vital role to the club’s successful season last year, have contributed in the current campaign too.
3) A BETTER PLAN ‘B’
Allegri has lined up his team in 3-5-2, 4-2-3-1, and 4-3-3 formations so far this season, with the ability to play with different systems a real boon to Juve’s results. Possessing multiple options can only help Juventus in the long run as their back-three system has occasionally hindered the side’s attacking fluidity.
Since the introduction of the 4-2-3-1 towards the end of last month, Juventus have won seven games in all competitions, Allegri’s tactical acumen and intelligence paying off at the right time.
The change has allowed his team to prevent opponents from roaming into the final third from the wide areas and to be more dangerous in attack, with Mandzukic thriving in his new role as a left attacking midfielder.
4) DOMESTIC DOMINANCE
The current run of five consecutive Scudetto titles remains is impressive, but it is their recent Coppa Italia triumphs that bode well for the pursuit of Champions League glory. The Bianconeri have shown that they are experts at getting the job done in a two-legged knockout tie, as well as one-off finals now too. Juventus have proved that they are capable of grinding out the results when needed.
5) ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
After they returned to the top-flight in Italy, many predicted Juventus would struggle to find their feet in Serie A. But in the 2011-12 campaign they finished in first place and went the whole season undefeated. Since then, the Old Lady have exceeded all expectations and are now aiming to win a record sixth Scudetto in a row.
Their opponents have become more aware of what they are capable of, but the gameplan of Juventus has been increasingly hard to stop. The style is difficult to copy or challenge, with the team normally dominating possession from the start of the game and forcing players from the opposition to abandon the compact defensive shape that they are playing in.
It has been clear on a few occasions this campaign, and Juventus were not completely at ease when they were stopped from playing their natural style of play, for example in the 0-0 draw at home to Sevilla and Lyon in the Champions League group stages. However, the knockout rounds will return the favour back to them, as the sides that they are facing will want to dominate possession and aim to control the game.
Know more about Sport360 Application